JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
CHINA MUST RECOGNIZE AND PROTECT
UIGHUR MINORITY RIGHTS
– DEAL UNREST EVEN-HANDEDLY THROUGH INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION
12 TH JULY 2009
We are deeply concerned over the escalating violence in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Reports suggest that the unrest has now spread from Urumqi to the cities of Kashgar, Yarkand, Aksu, Khotan and Karamay.
There are conflicting reports from various sources regarding the number of dead in Urumqi, and the cause of these deaths. Official reports say at least 156 have been killed, while other sources put the figure above 1,000. Uighur sources within Xinjiang say that 400 Uighurs have been killed by police. So far, there have been 1,000 injured and 1,434 arrested in relation to the unrest in Xinjiang.
Official reports link the unrest to the death of two Uighur factory workers in June in an ethnic clash at a toy factory in Shaoguan, Guangdong province. However, other reports suggest that more than 100 Uighurs were killed during the incident at the factory. While the Chinese authorities imposed an information black-out on the incident, it was allegedly the rumours of this incident, and the government’s inaction, that sparked an estimated 10,000 Uighur protestors to take to the streets in Urumqi.
Reports suggest police knew in advance protestors would be demonstrating in large numbers and blocked the roads to prevent them from assembling. This, and heavy-handed policing toward Uighurs, is thought to have played a role in turning the initially peaceful protests in Urumqi into violent riots.
It is probable that the substantial influx of Han Chinese to the region has played a role in the current unrest. A drastic ‘in-transfer’ of ethnic Han Chinese has coincided with the government policy of transferring Uighur women from Xinjiang to the urban areas of China’s eastern seaboard for forced labour, significantly changing the region’s demographics.
According to reports in the media China’s Uighurs are undoubtedly amongst the most repressed peoples of the world. Some of the human rights abuses Uighurs face are forced labour, forced abortion, human trafficking, arbitrary arrest and detention, and severe racial and religious persecution and discrimination.
We call on the Chinese government:
- To carry out an open and independent investigation into the ethnic clash and deaths that took place in Guangdong in late June.
- To deal with the protestors in a proportionate and even-handed manner and those arrested must receive fair trials in accordance with international standards. Adequate investigations on the circumstances surrounding all deaths should be carried out.
- To respect, and provide opportunities for Uighurs to enjoy, their human rights including their religious and cultural rights.
- To abandon the policy of changing the demography of the region through Han migration and trying to assimilate them into the Han community.
- To recognize and give effect to the right of self-determination of the Uighurs in accordance with international law.
- To establish inter-ethnic goodwill councils to address inter-ethnic problems and promote unity.
Abdul Ghani Samsudin
S.M. Mohamed Idris
Chairman , Citizens International
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
President , TERAS
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